Golden Eagles looking for revenge
March 3, 2001
By Richard Dark
The Meridian Star
HATTIESBURG One victory away.
That's the current status of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, who need only to avenge a loss to the South Florida Bulls to claim the regular season Conference USA crown. Southern Miss rides a four-game C-USA win streak into the game.
The Golden Eagles will grab at least a share of the title if they win tonight's regular-season finale that is set to tip at Reed Green Coliseum at 6 p.m.
USM, Memphis and Cincinnati are in a three-way tie for the lead in C-USA at 10-5. The league promises to have a photo-finish with six teams having a chance to share the title going into today's slate.
The Eagles (20-7) own the league's best overall record going into next week's C-USA Tournament in Louisville.
Wednesday's hard-fought, bruising 74-55 victory over the Memphis was USM's seventh in its last eight games against the Tigers. In that contest, Elvin Mims went ballistic from long range, scoring 22 points, including six-of-nine 3-pointers in a second-half rally.
Center Vandarel Jones also came through with 22 points and six blocked shots in 36 minutes of action.
But Mims said the Golden Eagles, who enter today's action with a 10-5 league mark, said Wednesday's win was no big deal.
If the Louisville Cardinals, who are sending coaching icon Denny Crum off into the sunset after the tourney, manage to hand Memphis its second straight loss and the DePaul Blue Demons can get a home win over the Cincinnati Bearcats, then USM would be the outright champion and receive a bye in the C-USA Tournament.
South Florida, which currently sits at 9-6 in the National Division, was defeated on the road on Thursday night, falling to Bob Huggins' Bearcats 77-66.
But the Golden Eagles stumbled in Tampa, Fla. to the preseason National Division-favored Bulls earlier in the year, 59-49, in a game that saw the Golden Eagles commit 23 turnovers.
The game also marks "Senior Day" for some of Green's biggest weapons.
Among them is Mel Cauthen, who averages 5.1 points per game and 2.1 rebounds. Cauthen was busted open by a Tiger elbow Wednesday night and needed a few stitches in his head.
Despite going down, he only stayed out of the game a few minutes and finished with five points, three rebounds, four assists and a block.
Others making their regular-season Green Coliseum swan song are Jones (12.1, 7.0), Kilvorous Thompson (8.2, 5.4) and sharpshooter David Wall (14.2 3.2). Forward Carl Henderson (2.6) is also an outgoing senior.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.